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Temporary Absence From Home

Housing Benefit can still be paid in respect of your home during a period of temporary absence providing:

  1. You intend to occupy the dwelling as your home upon your return
  2. The part of the dwelling you normally occupy is not let or sub-let
  3. The period of absence is unlikely to exceed 52 weeks if you are:A prisoner on remand
  • An in-patient in hospital or similar institution
  • Receiving medical treatment or medically approve d convalescence for yourself, your partner or a dependent child in the UK or abroad, but not in residential accommodation
  • Undertaking an approved training course in the UK or abroad
  • Providing medically approved care in the UK or abroad
  • Providing care for a child whose parent or guardian is receiving medical treatment or medically approved care
  • Receiving medically approved care in the UK or abroad but not in residential accommodation
  • Vulnerable students
  • In fear of violence
  • Receiving care in residential accommodation other than in a trial basis


The 1st and 3rd conditions must be satisfied throughout the period of absence. The 2nd condition disqualifies any entitlement to benefit during the period the property is let or sub-let.

However from 28 July 2016, a new general temporary absence rule applies to claimants and their family members for periods of absence outside Great Britain. The new rule allows them to be absent for up to 4 weeks as long as they continue to meet the rules for absences from their main dwelling.

There are certain exceptions where the period of absence can be extended to but must not exceed 26 weeks outside Great Britain and you are:

  • An in-patient in hospital or similar institution.
  • Receiving medical treatment or medically approved convalescence for yourself, your partner or a dependent child but not in residential accommodation.
  • Receiving medically approved care but not in residential accommodation.
  • In fear of violence


In all other circumstances the period of absence must not exceed 13 weeks.

To avoid loss of benefit you must advise the local authority of your situation before the absence occurs.


For more information contact a Customer Services Centre.